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Feb 20th 2004

On the weirdness of polygamy, and the difficulty in prosecuting it

Since dan was kind enough to bring up polygamy and Mormons, I thought the following AP article may be of some interest:

In land of no first kiss, prophet rules Taliban-style

The quote on prosecution difficulties:

The last serious attempt at outside intervention dates back to 1953, when governor Howard Pyle arrested two dozen local men and placed about 200 children in foster homes.

But images of crying kids being torn away from their mothers had a boomerang effect: The governor lost his re-election bid after turning off mainstream Mormons, a powerful constituency in Arizona.

Since then, the community has largely been left to its own devices — and those of the prophet.

People just don’t like seeing families getting broken up, even if their family structure is considered odd.

2 Responses to “On the weirdness of polygamy, and the difficulty in prosecuting it”

  1. The salient point has nothing to do with breaking up an “odd” family structure. I personally feel that I’m in no position to judge who two or three or five consenting adults choose to marry, even if it’s the same person. I think polygamy in all its forms should be perfectly legal. As long as it is just that: unions between consenting adults entered into with full knowledge, and subject to the scrutiny of the law.

    The real problem is that these crying children are being mentally abused and statutorily (if not straight-out) raped. Any society where it is ok to force a 14 year old child to marry her uncle is one in violation of very basic human morality. Taking young children away from these sick social structures is far preferable to leaving them there. It has nothing to do with who’s married to whom. It is saving them from abuse, not hurting them.

  2. Doug

    Agreed (to the second paragraph). But it doesn’t change the fact that families are being torn apart; children from mothers and father(s). This doesn’t make great press for political leaders, hence the difficulty in prosecution.

    The ideal course it seems, which is alluded to in the article, would be prosecution on completely unrelated charges (welfare fraud and other financial crimes). Thus getting rid of “the prophet” yet leaving the families of his fiefdom intact.